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We’ve been consistently (and happily) surprised by the many different creative businesses that have joined us at 505 Carroll St/540 President St. The management has done an amazing job.

We noticed a few weeks ago that strange stuff was happening the 10,000 sq ft space right below us. It is sort of a basement, and you can see through a few windows from Carroll St. Slowly chairs, and dishes, and desks, and odd things were popping up and being arranged in peculiar groupings. Not a typical office.

Last week we needed to check out the basement ceiling. And to our shock and amazement, we find the treasure of all treasures — 10,000 sq ft of antiques, thrift finds, and other salvaged goodies!

And while this thrilled me to have at my fingertips, it was speaking with founder and president, Eva Radke, that really drew me in. Film Biz Recycling says the following about itself:

Film Biz Recycling (FBR) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the entertainment industry address the triple bottom line: profit, people and planet. We encourage every production to think about the wrap during prep and shoot, consider the impact of on and off-screen activities and donate every unwanted, useful and re-useable item to Film Biz Recycling or another re-use organization.

FBR also aims to research and introduce new ideas and methods for filmmaking by doing the research, making the contacts and disseminating the information to the community. Moreover, we aim to get everyone involved in a project to think and to act in a way that teaches the next generation and establishes new industry standards.

We are committed to prove that making future-friendly changes will not cost more, but in fact are less expensive than traditional methods.

We are committed to see every re-useable building material, prop and set dressing either make its way to charity or help fund the efforts of Film Biz Recycling.

We are committed to never have another dumpster full of perfectly good materials tossed to create green house gasses in a landfill.

Film Biz Recycling also seeks to connect the industry with other industries, communities and planet via collaboration, lateral thinking and volunteerism. Our materials can change lives. Our unique skills can move mountains so let’s be a shining light to the rest of the world!

Whether you need something new for your apartment, or just want to support a good cause, stop by Film Biz Recycling at 540 President St!

Last winter I bought one of the ever-popular eternity scarves. I searched and searched on Etsy for the right thing (Of course it had to be unique. No H&M crap for me…) Finally, I came across Yokoo — who continues to be a fave Etsy seller for her product and styling.

And almost the same day that my new Nantucket Scarf arrived in the mail, I came across the NY Times article featuring the seller, talking about making the transition to turning her craft into a profit. Upon searching, I realized via Vice Magazine, that I’d been missing out on Yokoo all of 2009!

I took particular interest in this, as we had just gotten started with Textile Arts Center, and had a main goal of helping folks to make these kinds of transitions, whether they were sick of the office life or had lost their job, or maybe just needed a new creative outlet.

So, why the tangent back to Yokoo’s rise to popularity in 2009? Because we are having a Warm Weather Gear class, and her items are entirely classic, beautiful, relevant inspiration for Winter 2011!

(all photos courtesy Yokoo)

Join us for Crochet 101: Warm Weather Gear on Tuesdays, 6:30-9PM January 4 – 25.

When you make it yourself, it will last beyond seasonal trends.

Too busy? Then we support you supporting Yokoo. : )

A ways back we had a strange/serendipitous meeting with The Loom — “a six-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn featuring male and female vocals, horns, guitars, banjo, ukulele, keys and percussion that CMJ describes as “Appalachian garment, angst-y stitching.” (

They were about to shoot their feature video for Break Thru Radio at the Carroll St. bridge, when they passed by the studio…and of course saw looms. So, obviously, they shot the video here instead.

I happen to remember it being a particularly rough day, and this was an awesome way to end the day.

Happy Friday!

And finished up your shopping at the BK Craft Central Holiday Market this weekend at Textile Arts Center and Littlefield! Sat + Sun, 11 – 6

1:28AM and Isa and I are patiently waiting for 3AM get on the damn plane.

For 10 whole days we will wander through Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Titicaca.. (!) We can’t wait and promise to have lots of pictures, stories, and textiles to share when we get back. And lucky us, we will get to meet some conservators and meet the great people at Awamaki.

Until then, enjoy some guest blog posts and fun!

It’s a quiet day here, getting things ready for the 3rd Ward Holiday Fair and finishing up stuff before Isa and I go to Peru (!)

So, some quiet inspiration:

Courtesy Benoit Millot and Fonda Lashay for the link

Last night I had sunday dinner over at my parents house. It’s been a nice little tradition I’ve started for myself in the past few weeks. Quite possibly has everything to do with wanting comfort before the pending doom of Jan – April, but the really fun (and sickly sappy) atmosphere around the holidays.

My mother is extremely creative. She works in marketing for software securities (womp, womp) so I’ve always loved seeing her little visions come to life in our small brick house. Christmas morning stays the same: wake up, have a giant waffle brunch with every topping ever, open gifts from our over-the-years-appliqued stockings, and on to spending 3+ hours going around in circles opening one present at a time. It’s always been a joke about my brother and I opening presents with such care — playing with each new toy before moving on — amidst cousins in a mountain of Hallmark wrapping paper.

I think this care came mostly from the appreciation of the time my mother took in wrapping presents. We have 3 large garment boxes piled with carefully wrapped ribbons and interesting folded papers. I can’t remember the last time we bought a roll of wrapping paper. Most pieces have holes and old tape, names of past recipients somehow covered up for the new year. The presentation has always been the best part. Particularly receiving socks filled with pennies. Was an evil trick, but worth the laugh.

This paper hoarding is definitely a tradition I can deal with, so I’ll start this year saving the great papers. I’m definitely down with the creative recycling people have been making more popular. And if it becomes a tradition, it will be more than a passing trend to be more conscious of my consumption.

I really enjoy these from John Boak:

A baking pan!

A sophisticated patchwork

A plastic bottle!

An aerosol spray can lid!

Or using traditional Japanese wrapping techniques and using fabric instead:

(courtesy Ikebukuro Diary)

(courtesy PSFK)

What will you do with your wrapping this season? We’ve got a few great workshops in our Holiday Gift Series coming up:

Paper Marbled Wrapping Paper

Sunday December, 12 — 11-2PM

(traditional Turkish Ebru)


Block Printing for Wrapping

Sunday, December 12 — 3-6PM

Really adorable block printed labels from Corrabelle

I love the Legos! From mamalibrarian

Our Afterschool kids have been starting work on their collaborative group projects, so there’s been a lot of discussion lately about site specific and installation work. The theme they will be working with is “structure”. Who doesn’t want to build a fort?!

An artist and college friend of mine, Jordan Taler, who currently works for City Arts, has agreed to collaborate with us in this section of the curriculum. It’s been so interesting so far, to see the kids’ reaction to more conceptual work through a very hands on approach and imaginative games and storytelling.



(courtesy Jordan Taler)

When we participated in the Ghouls and Gourds festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, we happened upon the work of Patrick Dougherty. Beyond being a perfect example for the kids’ project, with titles such as “Childhood Dreams”, his work was incredibly beautiful to see in person.


From his bio:

“Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Patrick Dougherty began to learn about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. Beginning about 1980 with small works, fashioned in his backyard, he quickly moved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental site-specific installations that require sticks by the truckload. To date he has built over two hundred such massive sculptures all over the world.

His home base is his handmade house of log in Chapel Hill, NC where he lives with his wife Linda and son Sam.” (

(courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Gardens)

His work takes me back very easily to childhood fantasies, whether through goblins and mythical creatures, or playing house by making something for yourself.. Either way an escape from reality and a place to hide. It also reminds me, though, of everything today in the DIY, back-to-the-land mentality. We’re craving something of being able to live off of nature alone, and Dougherty has created completely beautiful structures that take our imaginations elsewhere, but could be taken to the level of livable.

The process is also of interest, using volunteers to help gather and clean branches, and aid in the weaving process. Pieces are generally left up until nature takes its course.

Another artist this reminds me of is Stephen Talasnik, who recently had an installation at Storm King Art Center. Talasnik was also the special guest lecturer last night at the monthly Textile Study Group of New York meeting. Unfortunately, we had a full house with 3 classes going on here, so missed it.. Did anyone get to go? Would love to hear about it.

Anyway, can’t wait to see what the kids do for their site specific piece!

This past weekend, much to the G trains chagrin, I headed up to Greenpoint  for a lecture/discussion with Tara St. James, designer of sustainable line Study NY.

The discussion happened at the MOVES Pop Up shop at 214 Franklin St, and focused on clothing manufacturing and the differences between choosing to produce locally vs. overseas.

I’m so happy that Tara invited me to come. The mimosas were free, got to catch up with Titania Inglis and Greta Eagan, met some really great new people, and happily discovered MOVES. The Pop Up shop (up until Christmas!) houses a group of great independent clothing and jewelry designers including founder Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty, Study NY, H Fredriksson, and more. (see below for list and pics)

Tara led us in the discussion and shared her history, opinions on sustainability, and resources. The amount of transparency was definitely applauded by attendees who were mostly designers. Though I already adored her, my respect for Tara grew by 3PM when we all finally dispersed. Her honesty and dedication to working sustainably, and the time she spends on educating and mentoring.. To name a few of her side projects: an intern project Study Hall, and mentorship with Awamaki Weaving Lab. She’s just really great. And I would like to purchase majority of her designs:



MOVES is a project collaboration by Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty and Williamsburg Fashion Weekend. Once the discussion started, I was more clear on MOVES purpose: to bring designers, artists, and consumers together to share inspiration, resources, and networks in order to aid others in their design process, production, promotion. The point being to educate the public, as well, and lend a hand to fellow designers… much friendlier than the cutthroat scene we might expect or are accustomed to. My shy-self was quite relieved.

This lecture was the first of many interesting events that MOVES has planned. How about a new hair cut this Sunday with a french coiffure? Or music, drinks, and a Tam Aura trunk show on Saturday?

For your Holiday Shopping Pleasure here are some images and list of participating designers:


Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty



H Fredricksson



Andy Lifschutz



Tam Aura



All Participating Designers:


















Big THANK YOU to Sabrina Gschwandtner for coming out to give a great lecture.

So, for those of you who missed the Sabrina Gschwandtner lecture last Thursday, there was a good turnout and great conversation post presentation.

(attendees with The Virgin Knitters exhibition)
Aside from the mishap of badly listed times (sorry, folks) I was really happy with how the evening went. Sabrina is extremely knowledgeable, with lots of thoughts to share. Her presentation covered many great artists and current projects, taking the angle of SOLUTIONS in knitting. I liked this.
Some highlights:
UFO Administration
A week or so ago, I had the privilege of meeting the lovely ladies behind the London shop, Prick Your Finger. They stopped in to say hi on the suggestion of Sabrina.
(“How to be a fairy” —
Sabrina kicked off her presentation about the UFO (UnFinished Objects) Adminitration, and I had NO IDEA it was the same people. In any case, you should check out the blog and — pick from many of the uploaded UFO’s (could be totally based on the background story) and complete the project how you see fit, with as much or little nostalgia as you desire. I really want to visit the shop next time I.. happen to be in London. Sigh
You’ve probably seen the petition before (big knit/crochet Nike check blanket):
microRevolt projects investigate the dawn of sweatshops in early industrial capitalism to inform the current crisis of global expansion and the feminization of labor.”
One feature of microRevolt is knitPro. knitPro is a free application that allows any user to upload a digital photo, to be turned into a crochet/knit/needlepoint pattern to use in your next project. I like this a lot.
Theresa Honeywell
Perhaps something that we’ve seen a lot through history, covering items that traditionally require no cozy. In particular, Honeywell focuses on popart, and the “macho” culture of tattoos, tools, and motorcycles. Using “feminine” crafts, she covers “masculine” objects, creates crochet tattoos, and colorful installations.
Lacey Jane Roberts
Lacey Jane Roberts was also covered in Adrienne Sloane’s talk “Knitting the Political Landscape”. After The California College of Art took away “&Craft”, Roberts was highly affected. In reaction, she replaced the “& Craft” just in time for campus tours and photoshoots.
In the end this sparked some conversation. A question raised was that we’ve seen a lot of “graffiti” and urban craft through the recent years, to the point that perhaps its no longer shocking — it is not the new “thing”. What is next for contemporary textiles? Where do we see it going, as a political voice or other?
Just a side note: our SEAMLESS SWEATERS course begins this Wednesday. Intermediate knitters can go beyond the basics and learn to make simple sweaters, with little finishing. So good! Mention this post and receive 10% off the class!
( For everyone..
( Even babies!
VIRGIN KNITTERS ARTIST TALK: December 3, 7PM with Kimberly Ellen Hall. Join us and come bid for your favorite scarf! (No $ needed)


Received a surprise email from a former TAC weaving student this past week. Anna Craycroft took Intro to Weaving about a year ago. She was very intent on focusing her energy on understanding drafts and patterns. She briefly described the project she was working on, learned what she needed to from Visnja, and was on her way. Little did we know she was participating is such a great exhibition:

Subject of Learning / Object of Study brings a playful engagement with pedagogical language to three rooms of the Blanton Museum of Art. A colorful mural of chalkboards flank the walls of one gallery. A curated library of books fill the shelves of another. Handwritten wall didactics explain the content of the show through slogans and diagrams. The exhibition underscores how the museum itself as a tool for teaching: replete with visual aids, archives and lesson plans.”

While the exhibition seems to have been incredibly visually stimulating, there were also workshops, readings, and discussions throughout the exhibit on a range of topics from Kafka on the Shore, theater, and steel drumming to Montessori education, Bauhaus color theory, and zen meditation.

In the main education room, were Anna’s pieces:

Says Anna: “They are hand woven out of strips of merino wool, and sewn together for reinforcement. The rugs could be removed from the wall and used as seating during workshops and events that took place in the galleries as part of the exhibition. The ‘weaving’ technique comes from a paper weaving exercise invented by 19th century pedagogue Friedrich Froebel as part of his occupational gifts – a series of teaching tools for young children the pattern and color combination are based on the color theory exercises of Bauhaus teachers – Wasilly Kandinsky, Josef Albers, Paul Klee and Johannes Itten. Each rug is titled after the given Bauhaus exercise.”

(all above photos courtesy UOIEA)

(all above photos courtesy Anna Craycroft)

I wish I had been able to see this! As an arts education center that also houses a gallery, we greatly admire how seamlessly they blended a wide range of educational topics and art. Congratulations, Anna! Can’t wait to see what she does next in textiles.

Look for a recap of last nights lecture with Sabrina Gschwandtner on Monday! Have a great weekend